The very first Bitcoin ATM in Hampshire launched last Friday 13th November at Computer Junction in Elm Grove, Southsea.
Cambridge-based Heliopay LTD – working in conjunction with Portsmouth Crypto and Computer Junction in Elm Grove, Southsea – installed the General Bytes two-way Bitcoin ATM at Computer Junction last week. The ATM gives Portsmouth residents and visitors the opportunity to quickly and easily buy and sell Bitcoin, a popular digital currency.
So for the uninitiated, what is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a decentralised digital currency created 7 years ago in the wake of the banking crisis. It is a global currency which reduces transaction costs and has the potential to revolutionise the entire payments industry.
According to CoinDesk:
Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems.
It’s the first example of a growing category of money known as cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin can be used to buy things electronically. In that sense, it’s like conventional dollars, euros, or yen, which are also traded digitally.
However, bitcoin’s most important characteristic, and the thing that makes it different to conventional money, is that it is decentralized. No single institution controls the bitcoin network. This puts some people at ease, because it means that a large bank can’t control their money.
Computer Junction has been trading in Portsmouth for over 25 years and is run by Portsmouth University Alumni providing tech support and repairs for PCs, laptops, tablets and ‘phones. They accept Bitcoins as payment for their services.
Over the coming weeks, more merchants and retailers from around Portsmouth will be joining in to create the largest Bitcoin accepting merchant network in the UK.
Traders interested in Bitcoin can contact Portsmouth Crypto for a fast and easy sign up process, or visit their website for more information.
Charities are especially encouraged to participate. Earlier this year Aspex Art Gallery in Gunwharf became the first local charity to begin accepting donations and to date, have received approximately 0.21 Bitcoin which is the equivelant to £40 at the time of writing.
Matthew Baldock of Portsmouth Crypto said, “Over the coming weeks Portsmouth Crypto will be signing up local traders to be able to accept Bitcoin payments in store, using Heliopay provided equipment.
“In the months to come Portsmouth and the surrounding area will become one of the best connected places in the UK for people who want to use digital currency.”
Photography courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.